Sunday, January 27, 2013


"Whatever a person's mind dwells on intensely and with firm resolve, that is exactly what they become." - Shankaracharya

This is most definitely an iterative process. I decided to start with the more intricate topic of "Purpose" for a variety of reasons:

  • Our recent Values exercise - and the fact that we're in "Values and Value Creation"; Should help fill in the Value Prop section.
  • Just got back from TEDxBGI, and the theme was, "Purpose", which seems to align with value prop somehow - although might align with the Business Model Canvas(BMC) as a whole...
  • I think it will require the most iteration, so better to start early!
To assist me, I'm going to use the following rubric as provided in the book. I'll also upload/post the exercises I'm using somehow, for readers to follow along with.

Value-Prop: "How you help." What benefits do Customers gain from me?
Customers: "Who you help." Who benefits from your actions? Who do you serve? Who depends on you?
Key-Activities: "What you do." What are the critical tasks you perform regularly, physical, mentally, or emotionally?

Purpose Statement:
"I value-prop(verb) customers(noun) by doing key-activities(verb)."
e.g. I heal families by providing counseling.

  1. Value Prop:
    1. Empower
    2. Support
    3. Inspire
    4. Love
  2. Customers 
    1. The disenfranchised
    2. People unaware of their own value
    3. Specialists
  3. Key-Activities
    1. Communicating
    2. Empathizing
    3. Holding diverse perspectives

What's on your list?

During Jill Bamburg's presentation at TEDxBGI, she offered that a company's end goal is actually "Purpose", not "Profit". 

When she offered this viewpoint, one that we hear often at BGI, I was reminded of an old RSA Animate featuring Daniel Pink. At around 7 minutes into the video, he begins to talk about volunteer think tanks, and why these highly qualified thinkers would offer their limited time to some "greater" cause. He argues that when people are driven by Purpose, they are truly able to achieve more. Jill, and several others during TEDxBGI, expanded on that, offering that when companies and organizations are driven by purpose, they truly achieve more.

This concept, reminds me of our school. It also reminds me of all of our CAIR's, e.g. Darcy Winslow and her contemporaries working together on the Academy for Systemic Change. Or Hunter Lovins and Donna Morton and the Unreasonable Institute.

Really, everything boils back down to "Why?". Why do you do it? 

Howard Thurman offers, "Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive...then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive".


  1. Thanks, Aric! I was so bummed to miss the TEDxBGI event. I love the idea of living life from a perspective of purpose. Why am I here? Who am I working with, who can I help? What's the point? This RSAnimate video is one we share every year in our Social and Community Investment module for the sustainable operations program I teach and it's such a gem of common sense meets reality. The purpose motive vs. the profit motive. Purpose defined as a strange economic behavior. Transcendent purpose makes coming to work better, absolutely. I think there is a lot to learn from the negative effects of the profit motive. Our CAIRs have brought shining examples of purpose in unexpected settings, and I look forward to many more examples through our time at BGI.

  2. Thanks, Aric - I really enjoyed this post. For me, this post was an opportunity for me to revisit my own mission statement and really analyze the verb, noun, verb sequence that I am using. Furthermore, it was so great that you tied in TEDx BGI - the speakers were truly inspirational and it was great that the whole theme could be centered arounds purpose. Finally, I really enjoyed the video. I have not seen this video yet. Thanks for including it in your post and for urging us all to continue this quest for purpose in our own lives and in our organizations.

  3. Similar to the soft skills perspective, I think that we often lose sight of the significance of purpose in driving our business visions and the ongoing importance of maintaing a sense of purpose in what we do... day in and day out, regardless of the environment. I am wondering what you most appreciated hearing from the TEDx BGI speakers in terms of purpose? When we see an individual's sense of purpose, it's pretty hard to overlook—right? I think of Donna Mortin, and her passion and purpose practically oozed out of her. May we all be this inspired and may we each not lose sight of what it means to stay truly committed to our sense of value and purpose....both inside of and outside of the business world.


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